We are constantly looking at ways of helping NEET’s (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in new and innovative ways. Alternative Education is a program of study for students that need a different and/or specialized form or learning within a schooling environment. These educational programs may be put in place for a number of reasons, such as:
- Students who struggle with behavioural problems
- Students with health and/or mental health conditions
- Students who struggle to cope with a mainstream school environment
One of the main benefits of Alternative Education is that pupils will have the chance of being offered a small and more personalized environment in which to learn and form stronger connections with the staff and their peers.
There are many different forms of Alternative Education, with Home Schooling being what most families turn to, with over 100,000 students in the UK believed to be home schooled. Even so, Alternative Education covers a wide variety of activities.
Forest Schools are a good form of education that encourage children to get out of the classroom and learn through interacting with nature, while enjoying basic life skills in the form of planting seeds and fire safety. They focus on regular outdoor sessions and function mostly at nursery and primary school level with weekly sessions built around hands-on learning.
Steiner-Waldorf Education (or simply Steiner Education or Waldorf Education) gives emphasis to the creativity of students with hand-on learning experiences. The goal of this form of teaching is to help children enjoy their education rather than to simply teach them to learn.
Reggio Emilia Schools
Reggio Emilia Schools allow children to follow their interests and learn through them. These schools are run democratically through a team made up of parents, teachers and local community members. The focus is on embedding this approach into the parents, so that they and their children will be naturally raised to learn important skills through their hobbies and interests.
Apprenticeships allow people to enter into a job role where they are paid to work and learn the necessary skills to continue to work and gain experience in their chosen sector. The goal is to have all the necessary training for the chosen career choice by the end, allowing for much easier access to similar job roles in the future.
In 2020, 719,000 people were participating in an apprenticeship in England.
Pupil Referral Units
Pupil Referral Units have children being taught by people other than traditional teachers. This could be due to the need for behavioural support or perhaps because the child cannot, in some way, deal with the mainstream schooling system. They will need to have been referred by a local council to pursue this method of education.
Older children are able to leave mainstream education and school without the proper qualifications and skills. This shows a great need for alternative methods of education, to ensure that everybody has a chance.
Montessori schools mix practical and explorative learning to help students develop creative problem-solving skills. Classes are made up of mixed age groups that learn through helping each other. Each group of students is taught differently at any given time, allowing for a range of ideas to be exchanged simultaneous to others.
Freinet Schools focus on study of the natural environment and local community. Classes are child-centred and focus on ideas of cooperative work and learning.
Work Experience is time spent in the workplace around a job role with the goal being to learn what is necessary to pursue that chosen career path. While many will not be paid opportunities, some may be.